V8 Vantage 4.3

V8 Vantage 4.3 Description

In production: 2005 – 2008

Chassis numbers: C00001 – onwards

The production version of the AMV8 Vantage was expected during 2005 and once the concept was shown, firm orders poured into dealers. The production V8 was the most highly anticipated Aston Martin of all time, and perhaps the most affordable too.

Early in 2005, AML released more information and pictures showing both the workhorse Attribute Prototype (AP) and the more developed Confirmation Prototype (CP) cars. The vehicles featured in the magazine articles no longer had paddle shift, it being replaced by a conventional manual gear lever. We also discovered that a 'dry sump' lubrication system, which has the oil carried in a separate tank rather than within the bottom section of the engine, was to be used on the production car. This system was pioneered in 1928 by Aston Martin. Using a dry sump means that the engine’s overall height was reduced, allowing it to sit lower in the car, bringing down the centre of gravity which, in turn, had a healthy influence on the car's handling. Engine durability was also enhanced as lubrication was maintained during extreme braking and cornering. To allow for a smooth performance throughout the revolution range, the timing on the inlet camshaft could also be varied.

The suggested weight of 1570 kg, under the target of 1600 kg was very commendable, since target weights in the past, have usually crept up. However, the £60,000 estimated price the press had suggested in 2003 had risen to £75,000, quite a bit dearer than the Porsche 911. None of the magazine reporters were allowed to drive any of the 78 prototypes, instead they were given passenger rides; the cars were driven by the Factory engineers (in conditions that ranged from the deserts of Dubai via the Nürburgring in Germany, to the frozen wastes of Lapland). Nevertheless they were able to produce illuminating reports.

The finished production car was unveiled at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show to universal acclaim. Two examples were on the stand. In the cordoned off invitation only area was a Tungsten silver example; on the turntable, a stunning V8 Vantage in Cool Yellow. The yellow car is still owned by AML and has been on display ‘floating’ in the moat at the entrance to the Gaydon factory. The finished car was remarkably faithful to the AMV8 concept with only minor changes to the interior, new headlamps with integral LED indicators, tail lamps and different door handles.

The V8 Vantage was the second Aston Martin production car based on the VH architecture as already seen on the DB9 but with a 140mm shorter wheelbase. It was a strict two seater, smaller than any Aston Martin since the Feltham cars and perhaps the most overtly sporting Aston since the first V8 Vantage of 1977. Suspension, steering, transmission, brakes and many sub-systems are essentially the same as those already used on the DB9. The suspension was all independent by double aluminium wishbones with co-axial springs and dampers and front and rear anti roll bars. Steering was by the same ZF rack and pinion system from the DB9 but with the speed sensitive servotronic deleted, while the car rolled on rarely seen standard 18-inch or optional 19-inch alloy wheels. It was also first to use a new 4.3 litre quad cam 32 valve dry sumped V8 engine in a position known as front-mid mounted behind the front axle. The engine was unique to Aston Martin but used a Jaguar sourced AJ series block with unique internal dimensions. It was handbuilt alongside the V12 at the Aston Martin Engine Plant in Cologne, Germany. Power actually exceeded the target figure of 350bhp by a decent margin and was quoted as 380bhp @ 7000rpm with torque of 302lb/ft @ 5000rpm. With a kerb weight of 1570kg the V8 Vantage could achieve a 0-60 mph time of 4.9 seconds and 0-100 mph in 10.7 with the standard Graziano six speed manual transaxle. The rear mounted transmission also helped to achieve near perfect 49:51 weight distribution. The exhaust system had a bypass valve that is kept closed until 3000 rpm in order that the Vantage can pass the drive-by noise tests that are a requirement for all new cars. Once the engine exceeds 3000 rpm, the Vantage gets its real voice.

Then interior was an evolution of that in the DB9 and was again the work of Sarah Maynard. The instrument pack was shared with the DB9 together with the organic electroluminescent displays, similar centre console and glass starter button. Initially it was even possible to specify the same wooden veneer facias as the DB9 although this was quickly deleted from the options list to create some distance between the two models. The seats were initially available with either technical leather with fabric centre panels or full grain leather, both stitched with coarse thread. Since most owners specified their cars with the more expensive full grain leather, the cheaper technical leather/fabric option was also deleted.

Series production of the Vantage began in the autumn of 2005 at a rate of 3000 each year on a second assembly line within the Gaydon factory, with approximately 70% of cars going for export. Deliveries of the V8 Vantage to customers in the UK and Europe began in October 2005 with customers in North America and the rest of the world started in early 2006.

V8 Vantage 4.3 Variants

V8 Vantage Rally GT

It is true to say that Aston Martin has built cars especially for rallying before, but the V8 Vantage Rally GT was a little different. In 1955, a pair of DB2/4s were prepared for the Monte Carlo Rally by the Racing Department at Feltham. The Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage Rally GT, chassis 0947, was a little surprising when it first appeared in the GT class of the Lyon-Charbonniers Rhone Rally 21/22 April 2006. Generally speaking, the French Rally Championship is run on tarmac (unlike the loose surfaces that we are more used to in the UK) and the GT class is ideal for the Porsche 911 GT3 for example. On its debut in the hands of Subaru rally driver and AMR works driver Stephane Sarrazin with co-driver Stephane Prevot, it managed a 2nd place in the Series GT class. The car was prepared by Prodrive in Britain and financed by the motorsport enthusiast Frederic Dor. Of course, Prodrive, which runs AMR, has 20 years’ experience in the world of rallying with such cars as the WRC Subarus.

Such was the success of the prototype that Prodrive began offering the Rally GT for sale under the banner of 'The most exclusive rally car in the world'. The production Rally GT was extensively re-engineered but, just like the DBR9, began with the standard road car chassis to which was added a roll cage for safety and increased torsional rigidity. Whilst the engine was closely based on the all alloy road car 4.3 litre V8 unit, it was tuned to make it more flexible and responsive for the demands of rallying with 420bhp available. The suspension on the Rally GT carried over the road car’s wishbones, but with new competition Eibach springs and three-way adjustable EXE-TC dampers. The standard road car transmission was retained on the rally car, but this could be upgraded to a six-speed, close ratio dog engagement gearbox, developed specifically for the Rally GT.

The Rally GT was successfully demonstrated during the 2006 Race of Champions held during December at the Stade de France in Paris at Race of Champions. It is believed that only four Rally GTs were ever produced.

V8 Vantage Prodrive

Prodrive developed a range of parts for the Aston Martin V8 Vantage to give owners the option of a car with enhanced performance and dynamics. Prodrive tuned the 4.3 litre V8 engine to raise peak power, as well as making it more responsive throughout the rev range. It also developed the car’s suspension, including uprated Eibach springs and driver-adjustable Bilstein dampers, to give owners the option of an even greater sports-oriented driving set-up. Unique forged wheels were made available for the car and also discreet carbon composite spoilers.

Prodrive and Eibach jointly unveiled the new range of parts at the Essen Motor Show on the 30th November 2006. The parts became available in early 2007 as a post-registration fitment, enabling existing V8 Vantage owners to upgrade their cars. Key features of the upgrades available are,

  • The 4.3 litre V8 engine increases in power from 283 kW (380 bhp) to 317 kW (425 bhp), as well as increasing peak torque from 302 lb/ft to 325 lb/ft
  • 0-100 km/h time reduced from 5.0 seconds to 4.7 seconds (estimated) and increases the top speed by 13 km/h to 293 km/h (estimated).
  • Modified exhaust system with a low back pressure sports catalyst and a driver-controlled switch to manually override the V8 Vantage’s exhaust valve. Quiet mode = valve is permanently closed; automatic = as on the standard car; Sport mode = valve is permanently open.
  • A new driver-adjustable suspension by Bilstein and Eibach with a switch in the cockpit allows the driver to choose between normal and sports modes.
  • Discreet Prodrive designed and manufactured carbon composite front lip and boot spoilers to reduce lift by 45 per cent
  • 14 spoke 19" forged wheels made by Prodrive Japan; almost 9 kilos lighter than the standard wheels. Complete with Pirelli P-Zero tyres

V8 Vantage V400

HWM is the oldest and best established Aston Martin dealer, selling the cars since 1951. Almost every post-war model of Aston Martin has been sold by HWM including the ultimate one, the DB4GT Zagato. In 2008 for the first time ever, HWM offered its first 'Limited Edition', the V400.

The V400 was a 4.3 V8 Vantage but has had the engine modified to the 400bhp N400 state of tune. A number of optional extras were fitted as standard including heated seats, satellite navigation, 19” lightweight sports alloy wheels with silver finish, cruise control, Bluetooth, DBS-style clear rear lamps and numbered sill plates. Twin racing stripes from nose to tail were an optional extra. The V400, was limited to 10 examples and was very competitively priced at only £75,950 for the V8 Vantage V400 Coupe and £79,950 for the V8 Vantage V400 Roadster (plus tax).

ESX Super Vantage

The previous model V8 Vantage was distinguished by the twin superchargers fitted under the bonnet. Alongside the DB7 i6, the supercharger was well known in an Aston Martin. Forced induction was dropped in 2000 and some owners are still feeling the loss. The ESX Super Vantage was designed to fill the gap. Easy Street Motorsports, aka‘ESX’ and founder Ali Afshar have been around the performance and racing scene in California for both track and road cars since the late 1980s. ESX took a standard V8 Vantage 4.3 and added a supercharger and intercooler system that managed to achieve a massive additional 165 horsepower to a peak of 545bhp @ 7200 rpm, a whisker from the 550 bhp of the previous model. With 403 lb/ft of torque, the Super Vantage is capable of 0-60 in 4.2 seconds and 0-100 in 10.9. The ESX Super Vantage was available as a complete vehicle or as a direct ‘bolt on’ kit for enthusiasts who already own a Vantage.

V8 Vantage 4.3 Derivatives

V8 Vantage N400

In production April 2008 – May 2008. Chassis numbers C07804, C10375 then C10730 to C11164 within normal range. Engine numbers prefixed with a ‘G’ e.g. GAM05/12002

In September 2007 the N400 was first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show, it appeared to be the long awaited, slightly more powerful version of the V8 Vantage. The N400 was so named to celebrate the success of the N24 in the ADAC Nürburgring 24 hour races and the 400bhp peak power output. Indeed, the fully road going N400 was timed lapping the ‘ring in under 8 minutes.

The Vantage N400 featured a few improvements over the standard car. These included a useful power upgrade to the 4.3 litre V8 engine, lifting peak power to 400bhp and peak torque to 420Nm with either Sportshift or conventional manual transmission. The Vantage N400 also included a number of exterior design changes such as a revised sill design, Magnum Silver bonnet and side strake meshes, clear rear lamp lenses and a bright finish grille.

The Sports Pack was introduced exclusively on the N400 before being made optional on later cars. It offered subtly different driving dynamics tailored to enthusiasts who were seeking even more responsive handling, reduced body roll and improved high speed control with greater agility. The Sports pack consisted of new Bilstein aluminium dampers, uprated springs (45% stiffer on the coupe, 25% stiffer on the Roadster) and a revised rear anti-roll bar on the coupe. Of special note were the forged lightweight five spoke alloy wheels as seen on the DB9 sports pack. Finished in graphite and diamond turned, they were unique to the N400.

Interior enhancements included perforated black leather seats, micro-spin alloy facia trim and a unique numbered sill plaque. The Vantage N400 was only available in three new exterior colours; Bergwerk Black, Lightning Silver or Karussell Orange, all with Obsidian Black interiors with a map of the Nürburgring is embroidered on the arm rest. In this Karussell coloured car, the seat stitching and map is orange, on both other colours, the stitching was silver. Conservative AM buyers favoured the silver or black options; the vibrant Karussell Orange is fairly uncommon. Additionally, the Vantage N400 came equipped with a range of optional equipment as standard, including Satellite Navigation, 700W Aston Martin Premium Audio System, Bluetooth telephone preparation, HID headlamps, cruise control and memory/heated seats. Aston Martin intended to limit the N400 production to just 480 examples (240 coupes, 240 Roadsters) - why 480? Well that's how many seconds are in 8 minutes. Production numbers are not known at this time but were in the region of 430 split between coupes and roadsters. Base price for the N400 coupe was £94,000.

The 400bhp engine upgrade was also available as an aftermarket modification by AML Works Service and Aston Martin dealers. This was achieved through a revised Engine Control Unit (ECU) and the addition of a valved air intake system which opened as higher rpm allowed additional air into the engine. Standard 4.3 litre V8 Vantages with engines modified to N400 spec do not carry the G prefix to the engine number.

V8 Vantage 4.3 Specification

Body / Coachwork
Two door coupe with tailgate and 2+0 seating.
Extruded bonded aluminium VH body structure with aluminium, magnesium alloy, composite and steel body. Extruded aluminium door side impact protection beam.
Halogen front projector headlamps with integrated LED direction indicators. Xenon HID headlamps optional. LED rear lamps.
Heated, electrically adjusted door mirrors, powerfold (optional)
Reversing parking sensors
Heated rear screen, optional front screen heating (2006MY-2007MY), standard 2008MY)
Drag coefficient 0.34
Interior
Bridge of Weir technical grain leather and fabric interior with formed aluminium facia. Full natural grain leather optional until 2007MY, then standard. Piano Black facia optional
Polished aluminium and painted alloy details, clear glass backlit starter button
Ten direction electrically controlled front seats (including height adjustment) with optional seat heaters. Memory optional from 2007MY
Organic electroluminescent (OEL) in white
CFC free automatic climate control
Driver and front passenger dual-stage airbags and side airbags
Audio system with radio and 6 CD autochanger, 160W standard, optional 700W with 5.1 surround sound Dolby Pro Logic II
Integrated GSM telephone optional, Bluetooth optional
Full colour DVD satellite navigation system, (optional)
Alarm system interacting with the central locking system and PATS immobiliser system.
Engine
Front mid-mounted aluminium alloy V8. Four overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder. Engine number prefix AM05/. Dry sump pressurised lubrication
Bore 89mm. Stroke 86mm. Capacity 4280cc. Compression ratio 11.3:1
Maximum power 380bhp @ 7000rpm
Maximum torque 302lb/ft @ 5000rpm
Fuel system & ignition system: Multi-point sequential electronic fuel injection
Stainless steel exhaust system with by-pass valve , 2 three-way catalytic converters
Transmission
Graziano six speed manual transaxle with integrated shifter bellcrank system (cable operated), single plate clutch.
Sportshift automated manual optional from 2007.5MY
Alloy torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft
Final Drive, limited slip differential. Ratio 3.909:1
Steering
ZF Rack and pinion , power assisted, 3.0 turns, lock-to-lock
Column tilt and reach adjustments
Wheels and Tyres
Front - Aston Martin aluminium 10 spoke alloy wheels, 8.5J x 18, optional 7 spoke lightweight 8.5J x 19in
Rear - Aston Martin aluminium 10 spoke alloy wheels, 9.5J x 18, optional 7 spoke lightweight 9.5J x 19in
Tyres front Bridgestone RE050 235/45 ZR 18 (94Y), optional Bridgestone RE050 235/40 ZR 19 (92Y), optional sport Pirelli P-Zero Corsa 245/40 ZR 19 (98Y) XL from 2007MY
Tyres rear - Bridgestone RE050 235/40 ZR 18 (94Y), optimal Bridgestone RE050 275/35 ZR 19 (96Y), optional sport Pirelli P-Zero Corsa 285/35 ZR 19 (103Y) XL from 2007MY
Suspension
Front: Forged aluminium independent double wishbone incorporating anti-dive geometry. Coil over aluminium, monotube dampers with anti-roll bar
Rear: Forged aluminium independent double wishbone incorporating longitudinal control arms, coil over aluminium monotube dampers with anti-roll bar
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)
Brakes
Front: 355mm ventilated and grooved steel discs with four piston monoblock calipers
Rear: 330mm ventilated and grooved steel discs with four piston monoblock calipers Independent handbrake calipers on rear disc
Standard brake caliper finish is grey
Alternative brake caliper finishes: black, red , silver
Anti Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control (TCS) & Positive Torque Control (PTC).
Dimensions
Length 4382mm
Width 1866mm excluding wing mirrors
Height 1255mm
Wheelbase 2600mm
Front track 1570mm
Rear track 1564mm
Kerb weight 1630kg
Fuel tank Capacity 80 litres (78 litres usable)
Boot volume 239 litres (using VDA block method)
Performance
Maximum speed 175mph
Acceleration 0-62mph 5.0 seconds
Power to weight ratio 23bhp / tonne
CO2 Emissions 406g/km recorded from a pre-production car, but later revised to 358g/km
Price at launch
2005 (2006MY) £79,995

V8 Vantage 4.3 VIN Decoder

(2006 to 2009MY)

Character Description
1–3 Manufacturer, SCF = code for AML
4 Restraint System, B = driver and passenger front and side air bags
5 Transmission / Steering, A = manual RHD, B = manual LHD, E = Sportshift RHD, F = Sportshift LHD
6 & 7 Vehicle line / Body type / Seats. 03 = 2 door coupe, 04 = 2 door Roadster
8 Engine type, B = AM05, C = AM07, G = GAM05 (N400)
9 Calculated check digit (0 to 9 or X)
10 Model Year, 6 to 9 (2006MY to 2009MY)
11 Plant of manufacturer, G = Gaydon
12 Series identifier, C = coupe, D = Roadster
13 to 17 Sequential chassis number, from 00001
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